I thought someone may be able to gain some useful information from a handout we give to new employees in the foaling barn. It is a general overview of the entire foaling operation. As you read over it you will notice that management is very involved. We do this because of the numbers and because if a problem occurs we have the staff to handle it. This is my 8th year and we have lost 1 foal out of about 800. Normally we have 1 foalwatch and 2 to 4 managers at all foalings. Tim is the night manager so he is here 6 nights a week and the other managers average 3 nights. They are starting to get a little grouchy!
I hope everyone enjoys. Sorry about the formatting. It doesn't paste very well.
I. PRE- FOALING OPERATIONS A. STOCK THE BARN WITH NECESSARY SUPPLIES B. COMPILE ALL FOALING DATA 1. FOALING CARDS 2. MARES HISTORY (ANY PAST FOALING PROBLEMS) 3. MEDICATIONS REQUIRED C. ESTABLISH REGUMATE STOP DATES D. MOVE MARES INTO FOALING BARN AS NECESSARY E. DETERMINE AND MEMORIZE TURN-OUT PLACEMENT AND SCHEDULE 1. WATCH PADDOCK AND FOALING SIDE A. ONCE A MARE HAS BAGGED UP, IS DUE, CROUP BEGINS TO RELAX, VULVA BEGINS TO RELAX, OR AS MARE HISTORY DICTATES, MARE IS MOVED HERE. B. CHECKED EVERY 20 MINUTES C. CHECK FIELD MARES EVERY 30 MINUTES F. FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH ALL MARES PAST RECORDS THIS IS JUST FOR REFERENCE, SOME MARES CHANGE THEIR ROUTINE EVERY YEAR.
II. FOALING SIGNS *BE THERE* THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF FOAL WATCHING. IF YOU ARE NOT THERE THE REST OF THIS INFORMATION IS USELESS!! BY BEING THERE YOU GREATLY INCREASE THE CHANCES OF SURVIVAL OF BOTH MARE AND FOAL. SO MAKE YOUR ROUNDS, CHECK BAGS, AND VULVAS OFTEN. SOME OF THE MORE COMMON SIGNS ARE LISTED BELOW. THE MARE MAY SHOW SOME OF THE SIGNS, ALL OF THE SIGNS, OR NONE OF THEM! WHEN IN DOUBT CALL MANAGEMENT!!
A. WAX OR DRIPPING MILK (MAY DO THIS FOR A FEW MINUTES, FEW DAYS, OR NOT AT ALL) B. BITING AT SIDES C. WALKING STALL, RUNNING, BUCKING, PAWING D. HEATING UP, BODY FEELS TACKY, VEINS POP-UP E. DECREASED WATER INTAKE F. MARE ACTS COLICKY G. SCRUMPING (DRAMATIC PELVIC THRUST) H. LOOSE STOOL OR EXCESSIVE PILES
III. FOALING PREPARATIONS A. SET UP FOALING KIT NEXT TO DOOR 1. ON TOP OF KIT A. BANAMINE AND 12CC SYRINGE B. COLIC MEDICINE AND DOSE SYRINGE C. BOTTLE OF ACE D. BOTTLE OF ROMPUN E. OPENING SCISSORS (MARES NEEDING TO BE OPENED HAVE A RED DOT ON THEIR FOALING CARD) F. GET EPINEPHRINE, ROTA-CORONA VAC, AND TETANUS OUT OF LAB FRIG AND PLACE ON TOP!! G. NALOXONE AND 20CC SYRINGE WITH YELLOW DOT (IF NECESSARY) MARES OVER THE AGE OF 13 YRS. OR WITH A PRIOR HEMORRHAGE HAVE A YELLOW DOT ON THEIR CARD INDICATING THAT THEY GET NALOXONE AND AN ACCOMPANYING MEDICATION 2. ON TOP OF BOX FOR MANAGEMENT A. 12CC SYRINGE FOR BLOOD (NOT NEEDED FOR MAIDENS) B. PLACENTA STRING C. PALP SLEEVE 3. IN TOOL BELT ON TOP OF KIT FOR ASSISTANT A. 1CC OF TETANUS IN A 3CC SYRINGE (IN LAB FRIDGE) B. ORAL ROTA-CORONA VACCINE IN A 6CC SYRINGE C. CLAMPS D. EXTRA PLACENTA STRING E. ENEMA F. HAND TOWEL G. BATH TOWEL H. NAVEL IODINE (IN A PILL BOTTLE) I. ALCOHOL SWABS (ALSO IN A PILL BOTTLE) 4. WRAP TAIL 5. WASH VULVA AND UDDERS 6. COLLECT TEST COLOSTRUM INTO 12CC SYRINGE HOLDER (NOT NEEDED ON MAIDENS) 7. FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH ALL MARES PAST RECORDS 1. CHECK MARES FOALING CARD FOR WARNING AND MEDICATIONS MARE TO RECEIVED POST FOALING. A RED DOT MEANS MARE NEEDS TO BE OPENED PRIOR TO FOALING. YELLOW DOT MEANS MARE IS TO RECEIVE NALOXONE AND ACCOMPANYING DRUG…I.E. ACE, ROMPUN, OR BANAMINE (THIS WILL BE LISTED ON THE YELLOW DOT OR LABEL AT TOP OF CARD). 8. SET UP COOMBS TEST 9. KEEP STALL PICKED 10. HAVE OXYGEN SETUP READY 11. MAKE COFFEE
* ALWAYS BE SURE THAT THE MARES FOALING RECORD IS PULLED UP ON THE COMPUTER BY THE TIME MANAGEMENT GETS HERE!
IV. FOALING PROCEDURES (NORMAL FOALING) IF NO ONE IS AVAILABLE TO FILL OUT THE FOALING CARD MAKE NOTE OF THE CRITICAL TIMES. A. MARE BREAKS WATER, THIS USUALLY HAPPENS AUTOMATICALLY, BUT SOMETIMES AS-IN A RED BAG, IT MAY NEED TO BE DONE MANUALLY B. INITIAL PALP; MANAGER CHECKS FOR PROPER POSITION OF FOAL, BE READY TO HOLD THE MARE. C. ACTIVE LABOR; FOLLOW MANAGERS INSTRUCTIONS AND HELP DELIVER FOAL. D. DELIVERY. 1. HELP FOAL EXPEL FLUID BY RUNNING HAND DOWN BRIDGE OF NOSE 2. PASS MANAGER ALCOHOL SWAB 3. PASS TETANUS SHOT TO MANAGER 4. PASS ENEMA TO MANAGER 5. GIVE FOAL ORAL ROTA-CORONA VAC. 6. STIMULATE FOAL BY RUBBING WITH BATH TOWEL 7. CHECK EYES 8. PASS NAVAL IODINE TO MANAGER AFTER UMBILICAL BREAKS 9. IF THE MARE IS A MAIDEN BE READY TO CLIP A SHANK ONTO HER WHEN SHE STANDS UP. THIS IS A NEW EXPERIENCE AND WE DON’T WANT HER TO ACCIDENTALLY STEP ON THE FOAL. 10. RECORD TIMES OF MECONIUM AND PLACENTA DISCHARGE 11. KEO MARE FOR ANY UNUSUAL DISCHARGES
V. FOALING PROCEDURES (EMERGENCY) SAME AS ABOVE EXCEPT FOR AN EMERGENCY FOALING CAN EITHER ARISE BECAUSE OF CIRCUMSTANCES OR BECAUSE OF A MARES HISTORY. A. SET UP EMERGENCY FOALING KIT NEXT TO NORMAL FOALING KIT B. CHECK THAT EMERGENCY STALL IS READY C. BE ALERT AND LISTEN TO MANAGER OR VET INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY D. HAVE OXYGEN READY TO ADMINISTER
VI. POST FOALING UNDER IDEAL CONDITIONS THERE IS LITTLE TO DO AT THIS TIME, BUT STAY ALERT. HERE ARE A FEW THINGS THAT NEED TO HAPPEN IN THE NEXT FEW HOURS. A. OBSERVE FOR PLACENTA DISCHARGE AND NOTE TIME. WEIGH PLACENTA ON SCALES AND GIVE TO MANAGER TO CHECK. SUBTRACT 1 POUND FROM WEIGHT OF PLACENTA AND NOTE ON FOALING CARD. B. OBSERVE FOAL AND RECORD THE FIRST TIME IT STANDS. THIS USUALLY HAPPENS WITHIN 1 TO 1.5 HOURS AFTER BIRTH. ANY LONGER, MAY NEED TO ASSIST. C. OBSERVE FOAL AND RECORD THE FIRST TIME IT NURSES. THIS USUALLY HAPPENS WITHIN 3 HOURS OF BIRTH. YOU MAY NEED TO ASSIST. IF THE FOAL HAS NOT NURSED WITHIN 3 HOURS CALL MANAGEMENT. D. DIP NAVEL AGAIN WHEN THE FOAL STANDS E. WATCH MARE FOR ANY SIGNS OF DISCOMFORT I.E. COLIC, CRAMPING, HEMORRHAGE… F. COLLECT COLOSTRUM ACCORDING TO NORMAL PROCEDURE G. ENTER ALL DATA INTO THE COMPUTER H. RESTOCK FOALING KITS AS NECESSARY )CAN BE DONE WHILE WAITING FOR PLACENTA DISCHARGE AND MECONIUM)
Jon, you guys are truly amazing! Once again thank you and Tim for all your postings. I'm sure I speak for everyone that it's very comforting to read all your info, especially for those of us without any experience and for our maiden mares.
I am totally inspired with what you do. That's a phenomenal record, it's amazing to me how many horses pass through your hands. I don't think an obstetrician delivers that many babies!
How about that book? Maybe not right now, maybe when foaling season is over. Or what about a horse publication magazine article? It could be kept anonymous where you work. Seems like that's a secret.
Oh, and if you read my post about me going to the beach for you guys. I got a little caught up in the moment, I'm still watching my one Mare with my one foal. I'll have to go after my safe healthy delivery.
I have at different times considered writing a book. There are a few things holding me back though. The first being the fact that usually, I struggle to string 2 coherent sentences together.
The second is that it is difficult describe what makes us(our foaling barn) tick. It is more than just procedures, protocols, supplies and a great facility, it's an attitude and a fantastic bunch of people. If I could somehow figure out how to articulate THAT into something that made sense, and was meaningful to others, I would be on my way.
The third is just the nature of foaling mares. I think there are already some very good books out there on the subject that outline the process VERY well. But just like any skill, words can only go so far. Hands-on, nerves shattered, covered in blood, amnion and meconium, is the only way to gain confidence with this process.
Maybe one of these days, when my back is gone from pulling out one too many hip-locks, I'll try to gather my thoughts in an organized fashion. But for now, I'm happy to be a small part of the process. I learn something new with every foaling, and every new foal holds the promise of being one of the greats.
Before I came into the foaling barn 8 years ago I had very little foaling experience. The first 2 years I really stuggled. Prior to that first year I think I read every book on foaling out there! I thought I knew it all. Now after 8 years and a few hundred foaling I still feel like a novice at times. At least 9 or 10 times a season we will see something new. I have come a long way, but have thousands of things left to learn. In retrospect I think I was more confused after reading the books. I can tell you what the signs are, but I can't tell you why I know a mare is going to foal. It may be the gleam in her eye, tail held different, or ever her piles are in the wrong corner of the stall. Yes I know where almost all the mares in the barn normally do their business. It the things not in the books that have helped me the most. The hardest part for me was getting the confidence to make the call and to trust my insticts. Of course every once in a while a mare still knocks me down a few pegs, but that is part of the game. It can be a little stressful at times and it has gotten to me at times. Thankfully Tim knows when I need a pep talk or my ego stroked.
Thank you, thank you. I'm printing this out, you two guys are so wonderful to help us out like this. I have gotten so much information from both of you. I can't thank you enough. Bless your hearts for caring about us, like you do.
I agree with everyone. Your insight and help has been huge.
As I said in prior posts, neither of my maidens gave any of the typical signs of impending foaling. But, Jon, you mentioned something VERY important that I had never thought about. The blood vessels popping out. That WAS a comment that I had made the morning my 2nd maiden foaled to my husband...I had really noticed that her blood vessels really were popped out. I attributed it to the warm day. Hmmm...I've learned something new. Next year, when that happens to this mare, I will mentally be ready that perhaps the time has come.
We need to add that to our foaling signs everyone.
Tim and Jon, I'd like to first let you know Tim, that you don't have any trouble putting sentences together. It's that "attitude" you speak of that has the Magic! That's the part that comes through on the posts. I have only read a few books on the subject and none of them have that inspiration factor and your great attitudes! And as far as there already being too many books on the subject is completely irrelevant.
Is it ok if I keep encouraging you guys? My intuition is telling me you guys are totally ready for this. Keep this in mind, the industry is ready and needs what you have to share!!!!
Tim, I understand your hesitation at writing a book. I know an animal nutrionist that feels the same way. There are just certain things that can't be learned by reading it in a book no matter how skilled the author. Plus Jeff was always improving on what he knew and there was no way to ever keep up with that in a book. And I think with his knowledge it would have been more like a set of encyclopedias anyway. However if you ever change your mind I would be happy to come live down there for awhile and put your knowledge down on paper for you. LOL
I want to come work with you guys! I'm an OB/GYN nurse so I completely get that feeling of taking care of someone (or horse ) thru out their pregnancy and then seeing the outcome. If you ever need another foaling person, you can give me a call!
Johnathan, I just read the foaling protocol for the umpteenth time and was thinking about what a first class operation you have, as well as being glad you are doing what you love-or it certainly appears that way from your posts. Very cool! Just thought I'd share. Guess the lack of sleep is making me sentimental!
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